RANT! Apple’s App Store hurts software sales

RANT! Apple’s App Store hurts software sales

By all accounts, save one, Apple’s iPhone has been an amazing success. When you factor

  • the number of competitors in the marketplace,
  • Apple as a relative newcomer to the cell phone market,
  • the strict relationship with only one carrier

it is amazing that the iPhone has had such a strong impact on the revenue of Apple as well as the sales of other phones.

The one area that Apple really needs to develop is the developer network. While the App Store is the best method yet developed for delivering software to a cell phone, it does not appear that it is a great commercial success for many of its developers.  The vast majority of the apps on the store are priced so cheaply (or free) that it is not likely that they will return a profit to their developers.

While there are more appropriately priced software packages on the store, the comments show that these have a smaller community than many of the free or cheap apps.  Why is this?

My belief is that few people are willing to pay 10 bucks for an app when they don’t know how it will work and screenshots are a poor tradeoff.  Some developers have rigged up “trials” on their website. Solitaire Forever does this quite effectively.  I don’t know what technology the folks at Solitaire Forever used to have the product work in such a multi-platform environment but it is a great model.

Additionally, Apple could help the situation by allowing software to expire after a certain amount of time.  This would allow software developers to time limit the software and adopt the try-before-you-buy (TBYB) model that is so popular in desktop apps.  This is done in a small way by some developers when they offer a less functional “lite” version of their software but that is difficult for the developers to manage and difficult for customers to deal with.


I am done with this topic for now but I reserve the right to rant more on it someday.

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